Concurrent Workshop 2

Tuesday 12 April 1–2pm

Session 1: Mindful Assessment: The Essential Fluencies of Innovative Learning

Lee Watanabe Crockett, Founder and CEO, Wabisabi Learning 

Schools throughout the world have been transforming learning, shifting to a holistic pedagogy designed to cultivate transfer skills. But the question remains how do we assess these critical encompassing skills? How do we assess problem-solving skills or creativity as well as project— and inquiry — based tasks?

As educators, what strategies can we use to give our students formative and summative feedback, and provide authentic and transparent assessment to inquiry and project-based learning tasks and activities?


Session 2: Principalship - are you ready yet?

Chris Franklin, Founder, AdValore Partners

Join Chris for an interactive session looking at your readiness to step in a Head role. Chris will talk you through how you can prepare for the role, step you through a self audit of readiness, and offer advice on recruitment and the interview process. 

Session 3: From anxiety to empowerment: Identifying interventions that reduce academic worry in girls.

Linda Douglas & Cathryn Furey, Ruyton Girls' School, Vic

It is easy to believe things are okay as we see our teenage girls engage in a range of activities, achieve academically and maintain good friendships. Leonard Sax wrote ‘On the surface, she is the golden girl, inside, she is falling apart.’ King cites studies that show 54% of girls suffer an episode of depression or anxiety during their teens; almost double the percentage of boys and notes it is often the girls we see as highly accomplished who are suffering.

Ruyton commenced our Anxiety to Empowerment research in 2017. Over the last four years we have collected quantitative and student voice data related to academic worry, alongside the consistent use of a Data Driven Dialogue protocol to make sense of the data with student, teacher and parent groups. This process has supported our staff to collaboratively work towards an informed understanding of the assessment and reporting processes and structures that were contributing to our students’ academic worry.

Our central purpose in commencing this work was to understand better the motivation and engagement of our girls at Ruyton. As we became immersed in the data our purpose quickly moved to gaining a clearer understanding of what causes them anxiety, in particular academic worry. The focus of our School wide approach is empowering our girls to best navigate this world they occupy, through the review of our systems and processes at Ruyton but also through the way we empower them; how our wellbeing programme and interventions support them in their learning and living, with a specific focus on the cultural force of language and messaging around stress, anxiety and worry.

Workshop participants will be provided with a roadmap outlining how we defined academic worry, designed appropriate research questions, collected student voice data, and engaged stakeholders. Furthermore, we will share the interventions implemented as a result of this research, and the ongoing journey our School is taking to address students’ academic worry, including explicit teaching of the Academic Buoyancy cycle developed by Dr Andrew Martin and Associate Professor Rebecca Collie from UNSW, to ensure ongoing improvement of student learning and wellbeing.

Session 4: School improvement through a coaching approach 

Mark Dowley, Crowther Centre - Brighton Grammar School, Vic

In this session we will explore the main drivers of school improvement and how a coaching approach can improve culture and learning outcomes. We focus on key programs that enable a culture of engagement, build cultural rituals and artifacts but also establish school wide and individual goals. The session will focus on a playbook of techniques you can use to implement a coaching approach in your school.

Attendees will learn about:

- coaching: practice, models, and data

- connect to a playbook of teaching techniques

- learn about the implementation process and how it can be used to implement a coaching culture in your school.

Session Description
In this interactive session, you will firstly connect to the key drivers of School Improvement through research, anecdote and case study. Following this, we will share how a coaching approach to school improvement can lead to an improved school culture: one where there is support but also clarity. You will see evidence of a coaching culture in action through video as well as other work samples. Participants will connected to approaches to embed and enable a coaching culture to flourish including the major milestones over a 3 year period. Finally, there will be a plenary for participants to ask questions.


Session 5: Artificial Intelligence in Education – Promises and Pitfalls

Gerard Houlihan, St Michael's Grammar School, Vic

Artificial Intelligence – What is all the hype about? Over the past three years, no educator could have remained immune from the wide-ranging public pronouncements in the media and at conferences about the looming impact of AI on the sector. Whilst these have typically been delivered with some gusto, there has been scant detail as to what this will look like at the coalface, leaving most teachers and school leaders anxious and devoid of the necessary information to make informed decisions around AI. And whilst most schools no doubt already access commonplace applications, such as with mathematical and linguistic tutoring, the question remains - what are the broader implications for more nuanced applications of AI across less well-defined problems, such as with student wellbeing? Drawing on Gerard’s work in the Oxford Artificial Intelligence Programme and at St Michael’s, this workshop will carefully unpack these questions, first starting with an accessible introduction to the history of AI in context of parallel developments in society and education. Gerard will lead workshop participants through the technical ways in which machines learn, identifying those areas with most potential for schools. A range of case studies will show how St Michael’s uses data visualisation software to create student wellbeing ‘dashboards’ and the use of algorithms as ‘intelligent agents’ to identify and trigger communications, and wellbeing interventions. We will look at how recent work in neural networks mimics the human brain, and provides inspiration for our understanding of how our students think and learn. We will explore the impact of AI in getting students future ready for work. Lastly, we will consider the numerous ethical and legal conundrums of AI as it applies in an international context and to the education sector, especially focussing on replication, privacy, and inbuilt decision-making biases. There will be many opportunities in the workshop for everyone to consider the implications of AI for their own school.

Session 6: Reporting on progress rather than achievement

Ben Lawless, Aitken College, Vic

Our system’s focus on current achievement rather than progress has led to many schools ‘coasting’. Because these schools generate high average VCE scores, they feel they are doing their duty. Yet our most able students are making the least progress; in part due to our obsession with achievement, not improvement.

Current student outcome reporting focuses on achievement, not progress. Schools are awash with relatively meaningless numbers and A-E grades. Judgement-laden reporting practices demotivate students across the spectrum, and provide no guidance for student improvement to students, teachers, parents or school leaders. We need to focus on skills, not scores.

The Gonski 2.0 report acknowledges developmental progressions should be developed. The federal government has recently announced a plan to look into developing some. But why wait for the cumbersome federal educational bureaucracy to create something you can produce in your own school?

Using readily available data from within classrooms, it is possible to create a developmental progression. These progressions allow schools to report on the improvement of their students across year levels. This shows real progress, not comparisons with peers or year level norms. Comparing a student’s own performance between two times time is far more motivating and educationally sound than comparing them with other students their age or against curriculum standards that, at best, only represent the middle 30% of students.

This presentation outlines the process of creating developmental progressions within a normal school environment, without the use of expensive and complex software. We will also investigate the many benefits of such an approach. Using progressions shows students, parents and teachers how to improve. Students know what they can do, rather than how they compare. Plotting students onto these progressions allows for meaningful differentiation by ability. Much more finely-grained reporting information is available to all stakeholders.

Participants will have the process explained, and walk away feeling capable of completing the process themselves, reaping their many benefits.